Genetic analyses of atypical Toxoplasma gondii strains reveal a fourth clonal lineage in North America.

Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
International journal for parasitology (Impact Factor: 3.39). 02/2011; 41(6):645-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2011.01.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Toxoplasma gondii is a widespread parasite of animals that causes zoonotic infections in humans. Previous studies have revealed a strongly clonal population structure in North America and Europe, while strains from South America are genetically separate and more diverse. However, the composition within North America has been questioned by recent descriptions of genetically more variable strains from this region. Here, we examined an expanded set of isolates using sequenced-based phylogenetic and population analyses to re-evaluate the population structure of T. gondii in North America. Our findings reveal that isolates previously defined by atypical restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns fall into two discrete groups. In one case, these new isolates represent variants of an existing lineage, from which they differ only by minor mutational drift. However, in the second case, it is evident that these isolates define a completely new lineage that is common in North America. Support for this new lineage was based on phylogeny, principle components analysis, STRUCTURE analyses, and statistical analysis of gene flow between groups. This new group, referred to as haplogroup 12, contains divergent genotypes previously referred to as A and X, isolated from sea otters. Consistent with this, group 12 was found primarily in wild animals, as well as occasionally in humans. This new lineage also has a highly clonal population structure. Analysis of the inheritance of multilocus genotypes revealed that different strains within group 12 are the products of a single recombination event between type 2 and a unique parental lineage. Collectively, the archetypal type 2 has been associated with clonal expansion of a small number of lineages in the North, as a consequence of separate but infrequent genetic crosses with several different parental lines.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Currently, some Toxoplasma gondii genotypes are being associated with serious clinical presentations. A recent report showing the Africa 1 genotype in two local congenital toxoplasmosis cases acquired in Turkey formed the basis of this study because atypical Africa 1 genotype is most frequently detected in animals and patients from sub-Saharan Africa. Since stray cats are considered as the linkage between wild life and urban life in T. gondii transmission, the present study aimed to isolate and characterize T. gondii strains circulating in stray cats of İzmir (Western Turkey). A secondary objective was to determine toxoplasmosis seroprevalence in this cat population. Tissues obtained from 100 deceased stray cats were bioassayed and isolated strains were genotyped using 15 microsatellite markers. In addition, toxoplasmosis seroprevalence was analyzed in 1121 cat sera collected from several large veterinary clinics in İzmir. Among the 22 isolates, 19 were Type II (86.3%), two were Type III (9%) and one was Africa 1 genotype (4.5%). The overall seropositivity rates in cats were 42-48% and 33.4-34.4% according to IFA and ELISA, respectively. Seroprevalence in deceased cats was significantly higher than in healthy cats (P = 0.0033). Finding both the major clonal Type II lineage together with the Type III lineage also found in Middle East, and an atypical genotype, Africa 1 appears consistent with the specific geographic location of Turkey between three continents and raises the possibility of transportation of these strains between continents through trade routes or long distance migratory birds. In addition, the first large study of toxoplasma seroprevalence in a stray cat population was also reported. The relatively high seropositivity rates and the variety of T. gondii genotypes confirm the local stray cat population as a risk factor for human toxoplasmosis in İzmir.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e104930. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have stressed the genetic divergence and high pathogenicity of strains of T. gondii from French Guiana. Although strains from coastal, human adapted environments (so called anthropized) resemble those found in other regions of the Caribbean, strains collected from inland jungle environment are genetically quite diverse. To better understand the composition of these distinct strain types, we undertook a more in depth analysis of T. gondii strains from French Guiana including profiling of chromosome 1a (Chr1a), which is often shared as a single monomorphic haplotype among lineages that are otherwise genetically distinct.
    PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 09/2014; 8(9):e3182.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Genetic diversity of T. gondii is a concern of many studies, due to the biological and epidemiological diversity of this parasite. The present study examined sequence variation in rhoptry protein 17 (ROP17) gene among T. gondii isolates from different hosts and geographical regions. The rop17 gene was amplified and sequenced from 10 T. gondii strains, and phylogenetic relationship among these T. gondii strains was reconstructed using maximum parsimony (MP), neighbor-joining (NJ), and maximum likelihood (ML) analyses. The partial rop17 gene sequences were 1375 bp in length and A+T contents varied from 49.45% to 50.11% among all examined T. gondii strains. Sequence analysis identified 33 variable nucleotide positions (2.1%), 16 of which were identified as transitions. Phylogeny reconstruction based on rop17 gene data revealed two major clusters which could readily distinguish Type I and Type II strains. Analyses of sequence variations in nucleotides and amino acids among these strains revealed high ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphisms (>1), indicating that rop17 shows signs of positive selection. This study demonstrated the existence of slightly high sequence variability in the rop17 gene sequences among T. gondii strains from different hosts and geographical regions, suggesting that rop17 gene may represent a new genetic marker for population genetic studies of T. gondii isolates.
    TheScientificWorldJournal. 01/2014; 2014:349325.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 31, 2014